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***** *^*J*^*JtJtJkJ*J*J*^ T H E
THE Lives of private Men, though they afford not Examples 'which may Jill the Mind with Ideas of Greatness and Power, like those of Princes and Generals, yet are they such as are more open to common Imitation; there are few within whose Compass those Aflions aret that is, there, are, comparatively speaking, few Princes or Generals, but the Actions of a private Man are as Counsel to all; if good eligible, if bad detestable, and to be avoided: For this Reason mojl wife Men have delighted in faithful Biography. But here lies the Difficulty, so few are true to their Subject, for Partiality either of Love or Hate, has caused many so to magnify or multiply the good or bad Actions of those whose Lives they write, that it is scarce possible to know how to diminijh, or what to divide by, to find the firjt Figure or Number they had to work upon; so that •when (not without some In treaty) I was indue'd to take upon me to write Memoirr, of the Life and Writings of Mr. Pope, of whose Poetry, Criticiim, and Satire, I had always been a profess1 d AdmirerJ iresolv'd not to suffer my Admiration to carry me greater Lengths than the coolest Reasoning could justify, it being not my Bu siness to write Panegyrics but to illustrate Mr: Pope's' Works, and/hew what manner of Man he was, as well as how great a Poet: To this 'End, I have made use of all possible Means, my Friends, as well as myself, having spared no Pains to procurt what Helps were attainable, some few I had in my own Hands which 'were never made publick, and the World stands obliged to those of all Stations, who have been so kind to hand to mefor this Use, what they thought •would contribute to give Light into his Life -, but most of all we are a,jisted by his own Letters and Works, by which Means, several Things before in Dispute, are now clear'd up, and others long forgotten, reveal'd to Memory, the Time and Place of Actions doubtful, fully fxt, and many Things once warmly contended for by cer," tain tain censorious arid ill-natured People given up.
By the Quotations it will appear, that a large Number of Authors have been perused and consulted in this Cafe, and that nothing is affirmed without some Evidence; for how vain would it be to intposeFictions upon the Publick under"the Pretence of a real Character?
Besides this, I thought it highly proper, writing of Mr. Pope's Patrons and Friends, not barely to mention their Names, but to give so much of their Character as might show of what Class (not only as to Quality, but Tofte and Under/landing) they were in: This I have done in the Duke of Buckingham, pretty much at large, as well as the Bishop of Rochester; I have taken Notice of Dean Swift, Mr. Dennis, Mr. Rflwe, Mr. Cibber, Mr. Walsh, Sir William Trumbull, Sir Richard Blackmore, Mr. Oldmixon, Mr. Eusden, Dr. Garth, Mr. Mr. Welsted, Mr. Gay, Mr. Bloome, Mr. Digby, Mr. Theobald, Mr. Moore Smith, and have not forgot a great Number more, some Friends, and feme Enemies, to Mr. Pope, keeping as near as I could to their true Story of Life, and carefully a
voiding such Circumstances as have been r exported upon stight, or no Authority.
As ta the Criticism upon Pastoral, it will not be entirely disagreeable to the Ear of those who love Poetry; if the Comparisons be just, be assured that the Quotations are fair. 'The Transtations^from the Italian of Tasso and Guarini are my Own, those from the Aminta published some Tearsstnce, bcing the fourth Trdnstation cf that Pastoral into English.
I hope it will be plain that I have spoken of Mr. Pope every where with the greatest Impartiality, and that I have not neglected to insert hi these Memoirs, any Thing by which his Fame might be enlarged and continued down to late Posterity, if this Labour stould live so long; for herein, I must coniifs,, I have not consulted my own Interest, but took it in Hand (how unequalso.ever to the Task) lest some other of more Art, might, mingling Falshoods with Truth, give to future Times a false and imperfect Idea of our great Poet, Critick, and Satirist.
There are several Things which I have omitted, though worthy of Notice, as not being certain whether they are not spurious, and some Pieces, though I am certain they
were were wrote by him, as he has not thought fit to honour them with his Name, I enter not into their Merits, but, as he dejires, impute them not to him: There are, likewise, a few Verses which he wrote upon a merry Mistake made by a Physician, at the House of a noble and most estimable Earl; but, as I have not Liberty to publish them, they shall be suppress'd.
Except these, I have not received 'the least Hint from Persons of Honour and Credit, (to whom I return most grateful Thanks) of which I have not made some Use, and defre to be excused by those from whom I have had Papers without Names cr Vouchers, for the Faffs contained,' at the fame Time expressing a Displeasure dgainslsome, which I know to be dishonourably false, and if I were able to learn where to return them, I would doit with the Reproach and Contempt they and their Authors deserve.
It was by particular Desire that I enlarged so much on the Essay on Man, and Jhe Universal Prayer—In'regard to the Ethicks, I have offered them to the Reader's Consideration, and taken Care to be guided in general by a Comment well approved of by Mr. Pope.